Roasting is an essential part of transforming coffee beans into a finished product. For a coffee to be consumable, its beans must have been roasted.
How coffee beans are roasted affects the final taste. It will be worthwhile to know that the procedure of turning those green beans into rich, brown goodness is an experience that is worthy of exploring, either as a roaster or a mere coffee drinker.
This article will explain the coffee bean roasting process, where coffee beans are roasted, and the different levels of coffee bean roasting, among other important things to know about coffee bean roasting.
Coffee roasting is a vital, if not the essential, procedure for making coffee. Roasting means transforming green coffee beans into brown. Every coffee bean comes off as green with a grassy aroma until it is roasted.
Green coffee beans do not smell like coffee until they are roasted. When coffee beans are roasted, about 800 to 1000 aroma compounds develop with them, making up the coffee flavour we are all used to.
Coffee Roasting Stages
There are three different stages of coffee roasting. They include the drying stage, browning stage and development/roasting stage.
1. Drying Stage
Coffee beans need to get dried before roasting because of their humidity. This is so because coffee is not always entirely dried after it has been processed. This stage takes 8 minutes or less with a traditional drum roaster which leaves the beans at 160C after drying. Proper care should be taken to ensure the coffee beans are not burnt from too much heat.
2. Browning Stage
The coffee, already being at 160C, already begins to smell like toasted bread. This is where the Maillard reaction comes in for browning. Different colour and aroma compounds known as melanoidin are made from the reduction of colour and aroma. Browning stage births the first crack of coffee beans when they start to pop.
3. Development/Roasting Stage
An Exothermic reaction characterises this stage because the steps ahead have collected enough energy to make the coffee beans explode. This level should take about 15-25% of the roasting time, depending on the desired roast degree and flavour.
Coffee Roast Levels
There are three different levels of roasting. They are; Light, Medium, and dark roast.
1. Light Roast
This first level of roast takes the least amount of time. The time shortage makes light roasts the most acidic and has the most caffeine with a citrus-like or lemon-like taste. This is because the longer a bean is roasted, the more the heat extracts the caffeine and the acidity.
Lightly roasted beans have an internal temperature of about 356-401 degrees after the first crack. Another thing is that lightly roasted beans also do not have enough oil on them.
2. Medium Roast
This is the roast level that is most popular among American coffee drinkers. Coffee beans roasted at a medium level tend to have lesser acidity, more body, and richer flavour. Right after or during the second crack, medium roast beans reach an internal temperature of 410-428 degrees.
3. Dark Roast
Dark roasts have all the time to caramelise, making them have a sweeter taste than other roast levels. They also have the lowest acidity and least amount of caffeine due to the longer roast period. Dark roasts are often at 464-482 degrees of internal temperature and are very popular in Europe. An example of a dark roast is an Italian roast.
Coffee Roasting Techniques
There are two different methods used in roasting coffee beans. They are;
Traditional Drum Roasting
Drum roasting is the old and traditional method of roasting coffee beans. For this method, a metal drum rotates over a heat source. As soon as it is hot enough, coffee beans left on the hot metal surface will start to roast.
Drum roasters use the colour of the beans to judge when the roast is complete.
Aside from the fact that traditional drum roasting delivers inconsistent beans colour, it is also a slower method of roasting when compared to hot air roasting. Although the more extended period it takes to roast and the slow heat transfer enables low acidity level and richer flavour.
Hot Air Roasting
Industrial hot air roasting replaced the rather hectic traditional form of roasting. For this method, the beans roast evenly by lifting the coffee beans onto a bed of hot air, which surrounds the beans.
This method has a sensor that determines the right temperature to stop at, rather than judging from the outlook. This method is faster, enables better productivity, and also saves a lot of time.
Where are Coffee Beans Roasted?
Coffee beans can be roasted indoors or outdoors. You can decide to roast your coffee in the comfort of your home. It is as simple as the other DIYs you try from time to time. A stovetop roaster and a fluid bed roaster can be used for your coffee bean roasting at home.
Different Ways to Roast Coffee at Home
- Roasting with a home coffee roaster
- Roasting with an oven
- Roasting with a pan/grill
- Roasting with a popcorn popper
FAQ’s About Where Coffee Beans are Roasted
Are all Coffee Beans Roasted?
Coffee beans still green in colour with a grassy smell are yet to be roasted. When coffee beans are roasted, they turn brown and are ready to grind for use.
What are Coffee Roasters Called?
Anyone who takes coffee roasting as a job is called a Master Roaster or a Roastmaster.
Where Do Roasted Coffee Beans Come From?
Coffee beans are coffee seeds, the seeds of a coffee cherry. When these beans are roasted, we have roasted coffee beans.
Does Starbucks Roast Their Beans?
Starbucks, as one of the largest and most successful coffee dealers around the world, has its roasting facility, which they use.
What is The Best Type of Coffee Roast?
Depending on your taste choice, you may choose to go for light, medium or dark roast. However, medium roasts seem to be the best choice for most people. This is so because of its rather conventional taste.
Why are Coffee Beans Roasted?
When coffee beans are extracted from the cherry, they are just beans that are not consumable until roasted. Roasting coffee beans is what makes them edible and healthy.
Are Unroasted Coffee Beans Useful?
Talking about coffee making and drinking, Unroasted coffee beans are unfit for consumption until they are roasted.
Whether as a coffee lover who enjoys exploring and knowing more about this versatile plant or as someone who has chosen to engage in the coffee business, coffee roasting is not a stage to be left behind.
You should know that unroasted coffee beans are not fit for consumption. Roasting brings out the flavour and aroma of the coffee beans and makes them consumable. This is no ordinary step that can be overlooked as a coffee drinker or seller, as it goes a long way in the taste of your daily dose of caffeine.